House Postpones Farm Bill Showdown

With the clock ticking down before the current farm bill expires in September, the House of Representatives appears unwilling to face a political battle over the 2012 legislation, leaving farmers, especially those suffering from serious drought, in a major predicament.

Earlier this summer, the Senate passed its version of the farm bill, one containing several billion dollars in spending cuts. Most of the funding reductions in the Senate bill come from subsidy reforms, particularly the elimination of direct payment farm subsidies. While the House Agriculture Committee has passed a draft of the farm bill, one that contains deep cuts to the Food Stamp Program, House leadership appears unwilling to move forwards with the bill.

With the House about to leave for its five-week August recess, farmers across the country are worried that their representatives are not doing enough to fight for their interests. While the House has been active in the last few weeks, passing a series of political bills that will almost certainly be rejected by the Senate (these bills include repealing Obamacare, an extension of the Bush tax cuts, and repealing offshore drilling regulations), they seem less willing to discuss policy that could actually be passed into law.

House Democrats are hammering Republicans, claiming that they are placing politics ahead of the farm industry. “There is no excuse not to bring the farm bill to the floor,” Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, said Friday. “Inaction means economic, nutritional and employment crisis throughout our rural communities,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer